EL VY's Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf on collaborating in the 21st century

by ,

Matt Berninger of the National and Brent Knopf of Menomena team up to form EL VY (Courtesy of the artist)
Interview: Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of EL VY
Download MP3
| 00:06:12
  • Interview: Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of EL VY 06:12
  • EL VY - Need a Friend (Live on The Current) 02:51
  • EL VY - Return to the Moon (Live on The Current) 03:41
  • EL VY - No Time to Crank the Sun (Live on The Current) 05:05

Matt Berninger of the National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls have teamed up to form EL VY whose debut album Return to the Moon releases Oct. 30 via 4AD.

What does EL VY—"pronounced like 'hell pie' or a plural of Elvis," according to a press release—stand for, if anything at all? The name's not the point. In fact, it's just the opposite. "Neither of us wanted to start a new band, so we named this [band] something that wasn't a like band name in our minds — but even that is overthinking it," says Berninger.

When Berninger and Knopf first met at a small bar the National played in Portland more than 12 years ago, the two clicked. "So I said, 'Hey! If you've got any extra [ideas] that don't make it to Menomena or Ramona Falls send 'em to me and maybe we'll make something," says Berninger.

Knopf followed through. Berninger inherited 450 song ideas and put them in folder on his computer titled "The Moon," but the two didn't dig into it until after the National wrapped up tour in support of 2013's Trouble Will Find Me. The result: an album that practically named itself.

EL VY perform in First Avenue's mainroom on Nov. 21 in support of Return to the Moon.

Related Stories

  • The National perform an intimate show live in the UBS Forum Ahead of last Tuesday's generous 23-song set at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, The National stopped by to play songs off their latest record <em>Trouble Will Find Me</em> in Minnesota Public Radio's UBS Forum. Between songs, frontman Matt Berninger talked to The Current's Mary Lucia about songwriting, skinny jeans, fatherhood and his brother's suddenly skyrocketing film career.
  • Slideshow: The National at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, August 6, 2013 The National put on an incredible 23-song set at Roy Wilkins Auditorium last night. Opener Daughter and an on-stage collaborative effort with Nona Marie Invie of the Minneapolis-based Dark Dark Dark made The National's electric performance one for the books.
  • The National perform in studio It wasn't until they moved to New York City from Cincinatti that the members started playing together. The group joined Danny Sigelmann in the Current studios to perform and discuss life in a band with your brother.
  • The National perform in The Current studios Brooklyn-via-Ohio quintet The National have been peddling their slow-burning, epically emotional brand of indie-rock to growing acclaim for the last decade.